Pakistan-India crossing is a ‘Corridor of Hope’, UN chief says, wraps up visit with call for interfaith dialogue

UN Photo/Mark Garten UN Secretary-General António Guterres follows the tradition of washing hands and feet at the shrine in Gurdwara Kartapur Sahib in Punjab province in Pakistan.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday said he had been moved by the show of religious unity he had witnessed in Pakistan after paying visits to a mosque, a Sikh temple and Kartarpur Corridor, the visa-free crossing which allows Sikhs to travel between nearby holy sites on each side of the India-Pakistan border.

“This is a very emotional moment. It is wonderful to see interfaith dialogue” said the Secretary-General, on the last leg of his three-day visit to Pakistan, where, since Sunday, he has pressed for climate action, and praised Pakistan’s compassion for hosting Afghan refugees, as well as the South Asian country’s major contributions to UN peacekeeping.

Speaking to the media at the town of Katarpur his stop at the Corridor, the UN chief said: “It is wonderful to see in the same shrine today Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, maybe Hindus — all worshipping in harmony and in peace”.

Kartarpur is a town located in the province of Punjab (Pakistan) on the right bank of Ravi River. It is said to have been founded by the first guru of Sikhism, Guru Nanak in 1504 AD, where he established the first commune. The name means “place of God”.

To facilitate visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims, Kartarpur Corridor was  established in September 2018.

This so-called “Corridor of Peace” was inaugurated on 9 November 2019 on the eve of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. The Corridor links Gurdwara Kartarpur Saheb with Gurdwra Dera Baba Nanak, across the border in India.

Echoing this sentiment of  religious unity and tolerance, Mr. Guterres called the Kartarpur Corridor a “corridor of hope.” He also visited a gurdwara, or Sikh Temple, and the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, he added: “When we see so many parts of the world fighting in the name of religion, it’s necessary to say that religions unite us for peace and the best symbol is this shrine”.

‘Diversity is a blessing not a threat’

The Secretary General has long advocated the importance of interreligious dialogue and interfaith harmony achieve peaceful societies.

“This is the best symbol that we can give for a world in peace and for a world in which there is mutual respect and there is the acceptance of what is different” Mr. Guterres told reporters today, stressing that “diversity is a blessing, a richness, not a threat”.

The Secretary General took the opportunity to pay tribute to the contribution of the Sikh community the world over: “I’m a Christian, but I feel very much at home when I am in a Sikh shrine and where I can pray to God here together with the Sikh community.”

UN committed in helping Pakistan to eradicate Polio

Earlier in the day, the Secretary-General visited kindergarten in Lahore where he participated in the first nationwide polio campaign of the year, highlighting the importance of eradicating polio from the country.

At the school, he met Dr. Yasmin Raashiv, Minister of Health for the Punjab Province, along with several health workers. While there, the UN chief appealed to all leaders, including religious and community leaders, to fully support the Government of Pakistan, and other governments around the world, in making sure that polio can one day be fully eradicated.

He also administrated polio drops to three students.

Pakistan, with the help of international agencies and donors, has made strides in the eradication of polio. However, 110 reported cases since January 2019 have caused concerns.

Mr. Guterres later tweeted: “Important gains have been made, but we need a concerted push to eradicate this awful disease.”

UN 75 Dialogue in Lahore

Among his other activities today was a lively discussion with the students at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).

There, he highlighted the importance of the UN 75 dialogues that will be taking place over teh coming year, noting that for the Organization’s seventy-fifth anniversary, he wanted to reach out and hear from youth.

From January 2020, the UN75 campaign will initiate the dialogues in all settings – from classrooms to boardrooms, parliaments to village halls. The aim is to reach as many people as possible: to listen to their hopes and fears; and learn from their ideas and experiences. Anyone can join the global conversation – physically or online, individually or as a group, in every region of the world.

Mr. Guterres stressed that over the next year, the UN wants to make the voices of young people “count in the ways decisions are made , in which strategies are established, policies are defined and actions are implemented.”

He also stated that the aim is not merely a dialogue during the Organization’s anniversary year, but “to establish within the UN mechanisms of institutional dialogue and institutional participation allowing the youth to have an influence in the way the UN shapes its interventions, decisions and strategies”.

“And why is it so important that young people effectively participate in the way we shape decisions today? The main reason for me is because my generation has failed in many aspects, but they failed essentially, in three basic questions that will determine the future,” said Mr. Guterres, citing failures on climate change, on making globalization work for all, and in making sure that new technologies are a force for good.

Finally, he said: “I believe that the youth must have a fundamental voice, but not only a fundamental voice, a fundamental role in the shaping of our common future. And I want to make the UN75 anniversary the moment in which I will try to talk as little as possible and to listen as much as possible.”

The Secretary-General wrapped up his time at the university by listening to the gathered students and exchanging views with them on issues such as human rights and climate change, and also about the important role of the UN.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Three tips for breaking through bias and seeing evidence more clearly

Indonesia has a plan to deal with its plastic waste problem

Mental health during COVID-19 outbreak: who takes care of health professionals?

JADE visits Lithuanian Junior Initiatives

Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technology solutions

‘Historic’ new Syria talks should focus on relief for war-weary civilians, says UN negotiator

Brexit: new European Parliament reaffirms wholehearted support for EU position

Scientists can lead the fight against fake news

The refugee crisis seen through the eyes of a young doctor from Turkey

New research reveals the true extent of corruption in fisheries

New tech infrastructure will help economies recover after COVID-19

Pride in health care during Pride Month: Are we ready for a dignified health care for LGBTQI+ patients?

Survivors of ISIL terror in Iraq want justice, not revenge, says head of UN investigation team

Assassinations in Ethiopia amidst regional ‘coup’ attempt, condemned by UN chief

MEPs propose more transparent legislative drafting and use of allowances

How fintech is setting Southeast Asia’s SMEs free

Europe and UN form bulwark against ‘might makes right’ worldview, EU foreign affairs chief tells Security Council

Sustainable Development Summit: ‘We must step up our efforts – now’, Guterres declares

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Independent UN rights expert calls for compassion, not sanctions on Venezuela

Why press freedom should be at the top of everyone’s agenda

Draghi indirectly accuses Germany of using double standards in financial issues

Why the UN is investigating poverty in the United Kingdom

Access to health in the developped and developing world

State aid: Commission approves Luxembourg guarantee measure to further support economy in coronavirus outbreak

Breaking news on European Youth Employment: European Youth Forum Guide tackles poor quality internships!

How three US cities are using data to end homelessness

Rule of Law: European Commission refers Poland to the Court of Justice to protect judges from political control

Mobile technology facilitating social distance in the middle of a pandemic

Sydney is choking on record levels of smog – and the bushfire season is just getting started

Smokers who quit one month before surgery reap benefits: UN health agency

European Youth Forum @ European Business Summit 2015: Why interns should matter to business

The first new university in the UK for 40 years is taking a very different approach to education

Societies must unite against ‘global crisis of antisemitic hatred’, Guterres urges

Four lessons from Africa on building effective business ecosystems

Scientists have created the world’s ‘first psychopath AI’

EU growth in 2015 to be again sluggish; Can the Juncker Commission fight this out?

Education should be like everything else. An on-demand service

Friday’s Daily Brief: human rights in Sudan, sombre anniversaries for Rwanda and Nigeria, and fears of ‘chaos’ in Libya

World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

An alternative to the future of antimicrobial therapy

Is Haiti better prepared for disasters, nine years on from the 2010 earthquake?

Syria: ‘Deplorable’ violence in Idlib against civilians, humanitarian workers must ‘stop immediately’: UN Coordinator

Bundestag kick starts the next episode of the Greek tragedy

Over $39 million earmarked by UN-backed fund to combat effects of climate change in Nepal

Digitalization is changing banking – These 3 trends will help shape its future

Europe is ready to engage, von der Leyen tells annual EU Ambassadors’ Conference

Coronavirus: EU Civil Protection Mechanism activated for the repatriation of EU citizens

A new generation of women leaders is making waves in the Arab world

Teenagers’ career expectations narrowing to limited range of jobs, OECD PISA report finds

State aid: Commission approves €30 million Estonian measure to support Nordica in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

UN spotlights digitization of audiovisual archives to preserve human history on World Day

The European Parliament fails to really restrict the rating agencies

Islamophobia is driving more US Muslims to become politically engaged, suggests report

AIDEX 2015: Humanitarian Hero Award Winner Announced

New UN-supported farming app is cream of crop in tackling Sahel pest

State of the Energy Union: Progress made on the clean energy transition and a basis for green recovery

We have solutions to crime. We just need to scale them

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s